With only a week left remaining until the season four finale, excitement has begun to reach fever pitch for Arrow fans who can't wait to see how the team finally take down Damien Darhk, once and for all.
However, some viewers may not be too happy about the end result.
In an interview with TVLine, Arrow co-executive producer Wendy Mericle explained that there are going to be some major changes in store for Ollie and co, which will all come to a head in the season four finale titled Schism.
No matter how you look at it, the word schism doesn't exactly scream 'happy ending', which may come as a relief to those of us who were bored to tears by the season three finale, where Olicity rode off into the sunset together.
Fortunately, the last few episodes of Arrow have been the best yet for quite some time and it's unlikely the show will lose its momentum as it hurtles towards the climactic finale.
The fans demand nothing less than perfection though, so we're hoping that some key questions raised over the last twenty or so episodes will finally be answered when Schism finally airs on May 25.
First of all;
1. How Does Damien Darhk Get His Hands On The Idol?
Whether you feel the flashbacks add depth to the show or whether you think they're a lazy plot device used to fill up extra time, (the latter, obviously the latter), this seasons flashbacks have revolved primarily around a magical idol that just so happens to be the key to Darhks power in the present day.
In the past, Oliver is currently trying to figure out how to defeat Baron Reiter, the power-mad soldier who draws power from the idol, so it's likely that this solution will play a role in the present day too, although how Darhk whisks it off the island of Lian Yu currently remains a mystery.
2. How Will Team Arrow Stop Darhk?
The problem with using the flashbacks to provide a solution to Team Arrow's present day struggle is that whatever knowledge is gleaned from the past should have been available to Ollie from the moment Darhk arrived on the scene.
They are his bloody memories after all.
Recent episodes have shown Ollie attempt to use light magic in order to repel Darhk's power, which has worked to some degree thus far, although a newly powered-up Darhk should have no problem throwing Oliver around once again like a child's plaything.
The answer to Darhks defeat may lie in the typically vague synopsis CW have provided for the season finale, explaining that Oliver will team up —
"— with a surprising force in an attempt to stop Damien Darhk and his magic once and for all."
3. Who Will The Surprising Force Be?
The Arrowverse has expanded tenfold in recent years, but it's unlikely that one of CW's other flagship heroes will come to Olivers rescue, unless of course The Flash deals with Zoom in speedy fashion or Supergirl figures out how to break the trans-dimensional barrier any time soon.
Other heroes who have previously appeared on Arrow could possibly swing by, including the likes of Vixen, Constantine or even Arsenal, but the "surprising" nature of this team up suggests someone far more shocking than that.
There's even a small chance that Curtis could finally adopt the superhero moniker that he's famed for in the comics, Mr Terrific, but our money's on a team up with Lonnie Machin, the villain better known as Anarky.
Lonnie is dedicated to seeking revenge on Darhk and his fighting prowess could help turn the tide last minute if Team Arrow can find a way to weaken their opponent long enough. The problem is that Anarky's relationship with Thea has become disastrous following the attack on her boyfriend Alex and such a team-up could prove to be the last straw for an increasingly unstable Thea.
4. Will Thea Leave Team Arrow?
The official promo for the penultimate episode of Arrow ends with Thea threatening to kill her brother if he moves, suggesting that the Queen family are once again beyond the help of conventional therapy.
In the aforementioned interview with TVLine, Arrow co-executive producer Wendy Mericle explained that Thea has begun questioning her place on the team, adding that —
"— She has also been questioning whether or not she is Speedy, which goes back to her character's struggle with whether she is more of a Queen or a Merlyn. She is going to answer that question in the finale, and comes up with a surprising answer."
Let's face it; choosing to remain a Queen would hardly be a "surprising answer", so we're going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Thea is definitely going to betray Team Arrow in the season finale, siding with her father Malcolm for reasons as yet unknown.
If (when) this does happen, it could (will) explain why Roy Harper is set to return to the show for a number of episodes in season five. Who better to convince Thea to return to the fold than the one man who's left Team Arrow more than any other? Hmmm.
5. So, Where Did Everybody Go?
When asked to describe the Arrow season four finale in just three words, star Stephen Amell summed the episode up in this frankly terrifying way;
"Where'd everybody go?"
Now, unless Amell suffered some kind of temporary blindness mid-interview, it looks as though we could be facing some more major casualties at the end of this season.
We've only just lost the Black Canary, so would the team behind Arrow dare to take out another key cast member so soon after?
If they do, it's possible that Felicity could be killed by Darhk in a twisted revenge scheme or perhaps Diggle's guilt over Laurel's death could prove to be his downfall. Whatever happens, we already know that the final showdown will be huge, as revealed by producer and professional blabbermouth Mericle, who states that —
"— we have a huge number of potential fatalities."
Comparisons to the city-wide battle against Deathstroke in the season two finale suggest that it won't just be Team Arrow who could suffer more losses.
At the end of the day though, who cares about the potential deaths of thousands when it looks like Ollie will finally sport a fetching goatee akin to his comic book counterpart?